A fictional tale of espionage and courage, disloyalty and betrayal set in Cherbourg, August 1944. The German army has retreated before the advancing Allied troops, leaving behind memories of collaboration and betrayal. Civilians, forced by the Germans to evacuate the city, begin trickling back, and among them Therese Bouliard. Suddenly, terrifyingly, she is arrested by the American Army and accused of being a German agent.
Her investigation is to be conducted by Johnny Phillips, a young and idealistic soldier untrained in his work and unprepared for a world in which deception and honour can be confused. Behind him is Captain Bruce Weiller, a man with a fierce sense of duty, harassed, overworked, and ambitious, determined to do an important job well and quite capable of using trickery in the process. To Johnny, Therese is an innocent girl struggling to keep her dignity and pride; while to the captain, she is a spy, guilty until proven innocent. To the reader - but that is the story. The closer Johnny comes to the truth about Therese, the less he understands, until, frightened by the threat of facing a world where truth has many colours, he commits the ultimate betrayal.